NHL Lockout: Canada's CBC Prepares for Potential Labor Deal

NHL Lockout Sticks NBC - H 2012
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NHL Lockout Sticks NBC - H 2012

The Canadian network says it can pull a team together for "Hockey Night in Canada" as owners and players seal an agreement to salvage the season.

TORONTO - Whether 48 games, or 52, Canada’s CBC network is ready to go if the NHL and its players’ association can agree on a new labor deal and stage a shortened season.

A spokesman for Canada’s public network tells The Hollywood Reporter that the CBC can quickly pull a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast team together if team owners and players can hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement.

The CBC needs a resolution to remove a big hole in its winter schedule with the loss of an NHL double-header on Saturday nights.

STORY: NHL Scraps Games Through Jan. 14 as Lockout Continues

With no live NHL games, the CBC has bled audience and advertising revenue.

The two sides held a face-to-face bargaining session Tuesday night, and were expected to resume negotiations on Wednesday after the NHL Players Association put forward a counter-proposal to the owners’ latest offer made last week.

“The fact that we're involved in a continuous process is something that I'm glad to see, but we’re clearly not done yet," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters in New York City on Tuesday night.

The NHL has scrapped all regular season games to Jan. 14, or just over half of the 2012-13 season, as the lockout of players continues.

The hope for North American broadcasters like NBC Sports and the CBC is the NHL and its players can quickly agree on a new deal, and mount a slimmed-own season that includes the Stanley Cup playoff and championship rounds from April to June.

Otherwise, the league will run out of out of games after mid-January to fill arenas and then be forced to cancel the rest of the season.